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A Saw-whet, Another Shrike, and Horned Larks

Published March 22, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Tundra Swan, Snow Goose, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Short-eared Owl, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark

A birding friend messaged me this morning that a Northern Saw-whet Owl was found today up in the Braddock Bay area. Since a large group was going to be going through there in the morning, we decided to wait until afternoon to meet and see the little migrant. Sure enough, the tiny owl was right where Jim's information led us. I'm sure the little guy was all tuckered out from his long flight and from the busy-ness of the morning's owl prowl.  The sleeping Saw-whet hardly gave us a glance as we quietly took some photos and then left him to rest.

On my way to and from the Saw-whet, I stopped to see flocks of geese, where Celeste texted me that she found some Greater White-fronted Geese. No luck finding those cool birds, but I did see about 7 Snow Geese mixed-in with one flock of about 300 Canada Geese.

In this same field, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Horned Lark. I finally found the well camouflaged little songster at the edge of the field, foraging in the mud. I'll miss their sweet, melodic songs when they soon return to the Arctic.

Flying above the field, I noticed another group of white birds flying tightly together. A look through my binoculars revealed 11 Tundra Swans on the move. Cool!

Further down the road from the geese, I saw another Northern Shrike. This time, the photos were poor due to the sun being behind the little predator. I took some anyway, never passing up a chance to photograph a shrike!

I took the long way home, meandering down some country roads, keeping my eyes alert for anything interesting. In spite of our lingering cold weather, I kept the windows down, drinking in the different calls of the Red-winged Blackbirds out in the fields and marshes. How I've missed them and their soulful background music.

I saw 4 Great Blue Herons in a marsh, a handful of different duck species - including one my favorites, a Pied-billed Grebe, and lastly, the sight of a lone Short-eared Owl took me by complete surprise.  I thought they were pretty much all gone back north. It wasn't that late in the day, either - before 5 PM. It just proves: you never know what you're going to find!
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Northern Saw-whet Owl
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Northern Saw-whet Owl
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Northern Saw-whet Owl
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Snow Geese in with a flock of Canadas (the darker, white one towards the back is a juvenile Snow Goose)
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Horned Lark
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Horned Lark
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Northern Shrike
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Pied-billed Grebe (aka Hell Diver)
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Short-eared Owl all by his lonesome
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Short-eared Owl
Reply from: tim on 3/24/2014 8:49 PM
 Beautiful past series of photos Sue.I have to get to the woods before the owls go bye bye .Also the N Shrike in previous post is awesome !
Reply from: tim on 3/24/2014 8:49 PM
 Beautiful past series of photos Sue.I have to get to owl woods before the owls go bye bye .Also the N Shrike in previous post is awesome !
Reply from: Sue on 3/25/2014 5:18 AM
 Thanks very much, Tim!